Seeking e-business recipes for success

Commerce, community, and content -- these were the key ingredients used by the first wave of pure-play dot-coms breaking in to the internet economy.

Commerce, community, and content -- these were the key ingredients used by the first wave of pure-play dot-coms breaking in to the internet economy.

Despite the demise of many of these startups, these three principles are still essential to any business looking to use the internet for competitive advantage.

For most e-businesses, these components are introduced in phases. Transactions are the obvious first step for a business-to-consumer e-commerce site or an e-procurement trading exchange. Content that builds community and loyalty is a natural next step.

But leading-edge companies are getting more strategic about content, going far beyond syndicated industry news for their public websites or file systems for their internal networks. Corporate information is an asset to be used both internally and externally and on a range of devices.

Although the category can be difficult to define and new technologies such as XML and Java application servers are just starting to make their mark, savvy companies see the value of their intellectual property in an information-driven economy.

The other practice that e-businesses are betting on is collaboration. In the consumer-oriented dot-com world, this meant making a site sticky and creating community. But the concept of community and collaboration can extend far beyond the struggle to attract visitors.

Particularly in times of slowing economic growth, collaboration can help companies find ways to streamline operations and speed up product development.

Is "commerce, content, and community" an outdated slogan of failed venture capital investors or a triumvirate of solid e-business principles?

Write to me at martin_lamonica@infoworld.com.

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